The University of Northern Iowa Student Health Clinic has achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC/AccreditationAssociation). Status as an accredited organization means the UNI Health Clinic has met nationally recognized standards for the provision of quality health care, set by the Accreditation Association. Almost 5,000 ambulatory health care organizations across the United States are accredited by AAAHC.
AAAHC accreditation is specifically for organizations that provide diagnostic or medical care on an outpatient basis; an overnight stay would not be required. Among the types of ambulatory health care organizations that can seek AAAHC are ambulatory and office-based surgery centers, single and multi-specialty group practices, college health centers, dental group practices, community health centers, occupational health centers, and managed care organizations. AAAHC accreditation is recognized as a symbol of quality by third-party payers, medical organizations, liability insurance companies, state and federal agencies and the public.
“We believe our patients deserve the best,” stated Shelley O’Connell, Director of the UNI Health Clinic “When you see our certificate of accreditation, you will know that the AAAHC, an independent, not-for-profit organization, has closely examined our facility and procedures. It means that we providing the highest level of care possible.”
The UNI Student Health Clinic staff served 27,663 patient encounters in the 2009-2010 academic year. Staff delivered services in the clinic, lab and pharmacy while fulfilling the mission of the Health Clinic: To serve the student community by preventing and treating illness, promoting responsible habits and monitoring the overall health of the campus.
The medical staff includes physicians, a physician’s assistant, nurses, a laboratory technologist, a pharmacist and a pharmacy technician. The service to students includes health education programs, diagnosis and treatment, managed care (diabetes and allergies, for example) filing insurance documentation and follow-up consultation. Funding sources include fees for service, sales, insurance reimbursements (25 percent) and mandatory health fees (75 percent).
Noteworthy programs that indicate a high level of advocacy for student health include immunization and flu prevention campaigns and extensive involvement of a team of students who promote health clinic initiatives on campus.
Ambulatory health care organizations seeking accreditation by the AAAHC undergo an extensive self-assessment and on-site survey by the Accreditation Association’s expert surveyors – volunteer physicians, nurses, and administrators who are actively involved in ambulatory healt care. The survey is consultative and educational, presenting best practices to help and organization improve its care and services. “Going through the process challenged us to find better ways to serve our patients, and it is a constant reminder that our responsibility is to our patients and the quality of care we provide,” said O’Connell.